Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id AAA01862 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 28 Jan 2002 00:03:00 GMT X-Sender: email@example.com Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In-Reply-To: <008201c1a6bc$1c7cfbe0$5e2ffea9@oemcomputer> References: <email@example.com> <008201c1a6bc$1c7cfbe0$5e2ffea9@oemcomputer> Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 00:08:39 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <email@example.com> Subject: Meme bonding Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed" Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
Has anyone written about "meme" bonding? That is: what causes memes
to join together to form larger memeplexes? Why don't we just have
billions of separate memes floating around in our brains?
I could see memes being joined temporally - you were exposed to them
at the same time. This could even be listening to a song while you
read a book or watch something on TV.
They might be joined by subject - encountering a meme and filing it
under biology. This also leads, conversely, to separation of memes,
since once an idea is filed under one subject it is less likely to
join memes filed under another subject.
Then there is a meme like "meme" itself, which serves to break down
distinctions between different fields of knowledge (biology and
social sciences). It seems to be based on pattern recognition (?)
If the pattern is pervasive enough then it encourages the bonding
together of larger groups of memes. It's almost like this is an
organizational meme, it changes how we organize our memes, and
creates larger memeplexes by reshuffling them. It also encourages
recombination by bringing memes into contact which were segregated
Some memes we segregate because they are unpalatable (like racism).
I read the following in Science News in 1999. "White college
students who endorse racial tolerance nonetheless tend to react more
angrily to a mild provocation after seeing pictures of young, black
males flashed on a screen. Each image appeared for a fraction of a
second, too short for conscious perusal. The unintentional adoption
of stereotype-related feelings of hostility and fear intensified
antagonist responses (the researcher) assets". To me this suggests a
sort of "Ragu" theory of memes. Whatever we have been exposed to,
"It's in there." Although we may not let it out to play with the
other memes, it can still influence our behavior.
Other memes we segregate by believing or not believing in them. They
are all inside our minds somewhere. Freud conceptualized belief as
the amount of energy we invested in a concept. Things that we
experience - like a pet dog - are invested with more energy and
attachment than things we only read about, but know are real - like a
lion. Things we know are *not* real (like monsters under the bed)
still exist in our mind, but they are not invested with energy at
all. Other models of realness and unrealness conceptualize a sort of
filter that sorts out the real from the unreal. This filter is not
well-developed in young children which is why they are afraid of
monsters under the bed. In addition, fear often compromises the
effectiveness of that filter. So if you want to sell someone
something that you know is a total line of Hooey, scare them first.
Incidentally, a child's ability to sort objects into different
classes is also the beginning of being able to differentiate what is
real and what is not. Is this ability an indicator of being able to
combine and recombine memetic content a la our earlier speculations
about when memetic behavior first occurs?
If this has all been done before somewhere, then kindly point me in
the direction of the appropriate book and I will stop my rambling.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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